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As you hire, you want to consider various factors such as experience, working well with others and the usual preferences. But do you also look to hire someone who seems empathetic? Should that matter in a new hire, especially when trying to recruit top talent? In a word, yes, especially in an industry that so often deals with distraught or stressed-out clients.

You want someone who will make the client feel cared for. Far too often in the medical profession, your employees deal with clients at their most vulnerable, whether dealing with health insurance difficulties or a major illness/injury, either their own or that of a loved one. As doctor and author Abraham Verghese puts it, medical professionals need to not only cure but heal as well — and the healing goes beyond simply giving medication and sending them on their way. You need top talent who will also deal with the healing aspect: the quality of life, what they can expect moving forward, help they may need down the road.

It allows employees to better serve their clients. When a medical professional can anticipate the patient’s needs, it gives the latter confidence you truly care. This allows you to deepen the relationship and improve overall care, working toward positive transformation in both the medical community and those they serve. Clients will come back — and encourage others to do so — if they feel you can legitimately empathize with their needs rather than keeping it strictly clinical. No client or patient wants to feel like a diagnosis or a symptom rather than a person.

Ask the right question. When interviewing, make sure to ask questions such as, “Describe a time you had to deliver difficult news. How did you go about it?” The candidate’s answer will tell you a great deal about how or whether they think about the patient empathetically when dealing with such a delicate situation. Do they seem to have the right balance of medical explanation and true emotion? If they swing too much one way or the other, you may want to reconsider them as a hire — you want empathy but not an employee who breaks down and gets too attached. As above, you want someone who can appreciate that the client wants to consider overall quality of life, not just solving the immediate problem.

Empathy in a medical professional is a must for those going into the field. Make sure you find candidates who fit that bill, and if you have any medical questions, ask the professionals at Medical Professionals.


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